A Woodworker’s CNC Router.

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Project by SPalm posted 10-16-2007 04:44 AM 34200 views 94 times favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have spent the last several years pursuing the build of a CNC router. It was a demanding experience, knowing absolutely nothing about the subject, either hardware or software. I now have it in a condition where I can use it, instead of designing and building it. It is completely designed and built by me. This is the third generation of the build and is really in a usable state. It can cut 3/4” hardwoods at a decent clip of around 2 inches a second and is basically rock solid. It is built mostly of Baltic Birch, has dual leadscrews for the long axis, and special V-bearings riding on the rails. A few months ago I added a tail vise so I could route with the work piece held vertically. So now I can route dovetails and fancy mortise and tenons etc. It can also do the more standard horizontal work of part profile cutting, sign making, rosette carving, and such.

It is fun to watch and I learned a lot. Now I need to get back to woodworking.

Edit: A two part blog on this build is here.

Here are some example cuts that I did while building it:

Celtic Tenon1
Celtic Tenon2
Wooden Clock Gears
House Sign

And some projects:
Shell Box
Salt Box
Jewelry Box

A multi part blog including a vacuum clamp


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

43 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4216 days

#1 posted 10-16-2007 04:51 AM

Yep..I’m impressed!!!!!

View Karson's profile


35099 posts in 4302 days

#2 posted 10-16-2007 04:56 AM

Great job. Did you write the software or are you using a commercial product.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View David's profile


1970 posts in 4041 days

#3 posted 10-16-2007 05:05 AM

Steve -

Unbelievable! I really like theHouse Sign and Celtic Tenon, but the delicate wooden clock gears . . . those are really impressive!


View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3864 days

#4 posted 10-16-2007 05:14 AM

Intrigueing. I’m impressed.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4175 days

#5 posted 10-16-2007 05:24 AM

Now that is a project. Very impressive indeed… Great job….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Jeff's profile


1011 posts in 3996 days

#6 posted 10-16-2007 05:52 AM

An amazing accomplishment! Any plans to blog your experience?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 3968 days

#7 posted 10-16-2007 06:10 AM

WOW – you are the man!!!

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3892 days

#8 posted 10-16-2007 06:27 AM

Absolutely outstanding!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3892 days

#9 posted 10-16-2007 09:27 AM

Great job Steve. Tell us more. Do you have a program that makes dovetails or do you have to program each project? Does it take less time to program or do the project freehand that is, have you reached the breakeven point yet? Will you be blogging any of the details. Even without pictures, the story would be fascinating to a lot of people I’m sure. Maybe you could blog a small project using the CNC router….

-- Jim

View Sawdust2's profile


1467 posts in 3989 days

#10 posted 10-16-2007 11:59 AM


I don’t know if I’d want to make one myself but I’d sure like to know how you did it.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 3807 days

#11 posted 10-16-2007 12:09 PM

Holy mackerel! That is absolutely unbelievable.

-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 3807 days

#12 posted 10-16-2007 12:11 PM

Hey Steve….. This is one that should get submitted to a magaizine.

-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3795 days

#13 posted 10-16-2007 12:29 PM

I tip my hat to you!............tonight I shall raise a glass to you!

There are many things in life that I would never attempt…...........thats one of them!


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3816 days

#14 posted 10-16-2007 01:14 PM

Brlliant. I want to build one too – to complete the “Sketchup to build list to cutting list to CNC router” vision.

I’m particularly impressed that you did it all yourself from scratch and that it is built of wood – well done and what a beauty!

Will you be sharing your plans in any way? I have software, hardware and woodworking experience – I’m ready to get started!

Beware the home CNC router woodworking tool – everyone will have one soon.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3923 days

#15 posted 10-16-2007 02:27 PM

Fantastic job!
I always wanted to try building one of those.
Where did you get your linear actuators and bridge hardware.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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